How to live an authentic
By Craig Nathanson
The Vocational Coach
Have you ever asked yourself if you are living the life you
were meant to live?
Have you ever asked yourself, as you pondered your life, is
this all there is?
These are great questions to ask when you reach forty and beyond.
Who Needs an authentic life?
If you are satisfied with the status quo life that no longer
challenges you or gives you inspiration and passion, then you
don’t need an authentic life.
What is an authentic life?
This is another good question since we rarely teach children
or adults how to live such a life. You are living an authentic
life if you feel you are in control and you are determining
your own direction. Your work is a natural outlet for your creativity,
your interests and your abilities.
Why is living an authentic life important?
We are living longer than ever before. One hundred years ago
we wouldn’t even be having this conversation since the
average lifespan was barely mid-forties. There are more opportunities
then ever before to recreate our lives and our work. When we
work without purpose and without meaning, our lives grow empty
and lifeless. Each day is just like the previous day and the
cycle continues until we retire and die. We live for tomorrow;
just 2 more years, or 6 more years, or 10 more years at our
miserable jobs until we’ve saved enough money to finally
stop. We’re not sure what we will do but we know it won’t
be anything like what we are doing now. Then sadly, life gets
in the way, and something happens to block our hopes and dreams
of a more fulfilling life.
How can I live a more fulfilling life?
I developed the simple Ten P Process™ over four years
ago to help people, especially those over forty, discover and
do the work they love. During the last four years, through workshops,
teaching, talks and private coaching, I have seen this model
applied and used by many people on the way to a more authentic
life. I think it’s time now for you to follow the Ten
P™ model and make the necessary changes in your own life.
What is your life about? How will you make a difference in
What bothers you about the world or your neighborhood, and how
you contribute to solving it through your work? What work could
you do that would give you more daily energy and passion? With
Purpose, you will experience a greater sense of integrity and
authenticity. Is this enough incentive for you?
What is most important to you; what do you Prize?
Too often we are afraid to admit the answer, too afraid that
we will be judged by our decisions rather than by who we are.
Are you working today in a job that has nothing to do with what
is most important to you? If you love teaching, for example,
and your days are spent balancing financial statements, only
you can do anything about it. Define what is most important
to you and think through now what you will have to do to follow
what is most important. Write down specific goals that align
with what you Prize. This can be a lonely exercise but the most
important one you will ever do.
What is your view of yourself? Are you happy with your life,
your choices, and your work? What is your view of the world?
Does your world inspire you and bring you energy? What is your
Perspective of others? Do other people interest you, arouse
your curiosity? Much of our activity in the world revolves around
strictly monetary pursuits and land and political interests.
I believe this is a result of people not taking the time to
follow a more authentic life that honors themselves, others
and the world they live in. You can be different; it starts
Have you given up on yourself or have you started to think
of what is Possible for you and your work? It’s easy to
let others influence your life’s direction because of
what they think is impossible. Listen to your own language.
Does it inspire you or depress you? Don’t settle for “One
day” or “I hope” or “Maybe if I could
do what I really love…” Start now to shape more
Possibilities for yourself. For example, imagine a new Possibility
for yourself and your work right now. Notice how this thought
brings on a new thought and another and another.
What is your Place or role in the world? Have you thought about
Have you just assumed that what you do today is the role you
are destined to carry out for the rest of your life? We are
all pre-conditioned by the environments, cultures, economic
situations and the personalities we were born with. These are
all hard to change. It will take disciplined effort on your
part to think through the roles you want to play in life. No
one will do this for you even if you got good grades in school
and awards at the office.
What is your Position or attitude on a daily basis? How do
you think about yourself, your work, your world and those around
you? Do you wake up daily being grateful or jealous? Do you
wake up angry at yourself, your work and those around you? Your
daily position will either support you and nourish you, or prevent
you from both enjoying the moment and moving towards what you
want. What can you do now to change what is not working each
day with regards to your attitude, especially towards your work?
This will make all the difference to you!
Have you ever gone to sleep at night tossing and turning with
the excitement of waking up in the morning because you can’t
wait to get started on your work? This is Vocational Passion™
and it is one of the most exciting feelings in the world. You
feel like you are spending your days doing what you love and
your work creates meaning for you. Make a list of all your passions.
Now envision how you could spend your day using these same passions
in your work.
Perfect Vocational Day
What would be Perfect for you and your work? Most of us settle
for so much less. We hope that if we work harder and faster,
the boss will notice us and perhaps we’ll get those four
days off next winter or that bonus or maybe that promotion.
With the promotion, we will get to work even harder and faster
doing more of what we don’t like. Seems silly, doesn’t
it? Spend some time thinking deeply about and writing down exactly
what an average day might be like for you if it revolved around
your passions for the rest of your life.
What are you doing now to close the gap between living an authentic
life and your life today? If you don’t know where you
are going, then perhaps any old road will do. Write down what
you want and compare it to where you are right now. If there
is no gap between these two realities, there will be no tension
and no problem. Following this road will not be easy. There
will be emotional challenges. You may have to change some of
your beliefs. There will be relationship challenges. You may
have to change some of your relationships. There will be financial
challenges. You may have to make some financial changes in how
you spend your money.
Putting this all together starts with the right support network.
Start surrounding yourself with people who encourage you, believe
in you and who provide daily inspiration and ideas about what
you want to do. Look for defining moments in your life. Use
these as the trigger to finally live an authentic life, starting
with doing the work you love.
Give yourself Permission now to follow your heart.
Still not convinced?
The alternative for you is to simply retire (“retire”
comes from the French word for “retreat” and “hide”)
and prepare to die. You’ll die slowly, of course, surrounded
perhaps by other like-minded people in a golf club community
playing bingo and discussing what you used to love to do. By
the way, the French also gave us the word “career”
which means “fast track”. Sadly, this is the way
many people live their lives; running fast through their work
only to discover they wasted years and years doing useless work
only to retire and play bingo. You can make a different choice
now to start to live an authentic life. This will be the hardest
path you will ever follow. It will be lonely and provide lots
of challenges. It is also the only path towards your
Craig Nathanson is the author of P Is For Perfect: Your Perfect
Vocational Day and a coaching expert who works with people over
forty. Craig’s new E-book, Discover and live your passion
365 days a year is a workshop in a box designed to help busy
adults go insane with their work. Craig’s systematic approach,
the trademark "Ten P" process,’’ helps
people break free and move toward the work they love. Visit
Craig’s online community at www.thevocationalcoach.com
where you can take a class, get more ideas through Craig Nathanson’s
and CD’s, get some private coaching over the phone or
read other stories of mid-life change and renewal. Craig lives
in San Anselmo, California. You can reach him at 415-457-0550
or at email@example.com.
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